Huakun Xu Captures Major Research Award for His Team and School of Dentistry
For inventing a new dental filling material that inhibits damaging
bacteria and, at the same time, remineralizing teeth, Huakun Xu, PhD, MS, accepted on
behalf of his collaborative team the prestigious 2013 William J. Gies
Award for Biomaterials and Bioengineering Research at the International
Association of Dental Research (IADR) general session in Seattle on
"I feel honored and humbled to receive this award because this has been
a group effort," said Xu, a professor at the University of Maryland School
of Dentistry (UMSOD). "This has all been made possible by the
researchers in my lab, the school administration and the funding
sponsors," he said.
The tooth-filling material that strengthens teeth and kills
cavity-producing bacteria was developed by Xu and his group: Lei Cheng, DDS, PhD, postdoctoral
scientist, UMSOD; Ke Zhang, DDS,
visiting PhD student, UMSOD; Mary Anne Melo, DDS, PhD, MSc, Federal
University of Ceara, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil; Michael Weir, PhD, MS, research
assistant professor, UMSOD; and Xuedong Zhou, PhD, DDS, MS, West China
Hospital of Stomatology.
Xu spent the past decade of his scientific career researching the use
of biomaterials as a means to replace lost minerals and regenerate
bone. After starting his lab at UMSOD in 2007, he decided to expand his
calcium phosphate mineral work into the realm of tooth filling
"A typical dentist spends 50 to 70 percent of his or her time digging
out old and failed restorations and placing new ones. I thought that
remineralizing and antibacterial filling materials could be useful in
reducing the failure rates of restorations," said Xu.
When a dentist fills a tooth, the prepared tooth cavity usually
contains some bacteria or carious tissues. In addition, there are often
microgaps at the restoration/tooth interfaces. The small gaps can trap
bacteria, which can secrete acids and further weaken the tooth
structure, leading to the development of secondary caries. The
secondary caries, located along the perimeter of the original
restoration, are the main cause of restoration failure, Xu explained.
His research has implications that stretch far beyond laboratory walls.
By increasing the longevity of restorations, health care costs to
society could decrease. It also would improve the quality of life for
millions of patients, said Xu. The remineralizing and antibacterial
filling material could be especially beneficial for underserved
populations in the U.S. and in Third World countries that lack access
to dental care.
Xu and his collaborators recently began testing the filling material in
animal models. He said that they anticipate a great impact on future
dental care. "Hopefully, our research will yield a better product and a
better treatment method for patients, to improve the efficacy of
treatment and, ultimately, improve their quality of life," Xu said.
|Posting Date: 03/21/2013
|Contact Name: Seve Berberich
|Contact Phone: 410-706-0023
|Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org